The Logical Fallacies of the WAP Controversy

Can we unpack this?

Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion in the ‘WAP’ video. (YouTube)

1. When men rap raunchy lyrics, it’s not a problem — only when women do it

Seriously? Sexually explicit, demeaning lyrics have never before been criticized in rap music? Black women AND men have been voicing concerns about how misogyny in hip hop degrades the culture for decades. Let’s not pretend like this is something new.

2. I grew up with [insert raunchy song] and I turned out fine

And was OnlyFans a thing when you were 10 years old? When I was a teenager, Netflix was a mail-in service, so can we agree that technology has changed things quite a bit since Millennials and older generations were kids?

3. It’s not their job to be role models; it’s a parent’s job to raise their kids

I’m confused; when did being a role model become a job that you apply for? Whether they want to the job or not, anyone with a following on social media is a role model —it just is what it is. The variable is whether or not you are a good one.

4. People just want to control women’s bodies

This is true in many contexts, and it might even be true of certain criticisms of WAP, but it is not my concern.

5. Cardi is challenging gender roles

What gender roles? Clearly in her personal life she’s challenged the gender role of the male as the sole provider. So why in her song is she still using her sex to barter with men? Doesn’t she have her own money?

6. Men won’t criticize vulgarity by male rappers, but they’ll criticize women rappers

This, to me, is the most solid argument out of all of them.


WAP is not “just a song.” There’s a lot more at stake here than a pearl-clutching schoolmarm’s sense of propriety.

“First of all, I rap about pussy because she my best friend, and second of all it’s because it seems like that’s what people wanna hear…

…when I did ‘Be Careful,’ people was talking mad shit in the beginning like, ‘What the fuck is this? This is not what I expected. I expected this, I expected that.’

So it’s like if that’s what people aren’t trying to hear then alright, I’m going to start rapping about my pussy again.”

So, in essence, sex sells — but we already knew that. It’s why male rappers can do absolutely nothing but rub their hands together in a music video while some vixens twerk in the foreground and still get millions of views. It’s why sugar daddy websites exist. It’s why sex trafficking is a growing global issue. It’s why teen girls recruited their friends to come give Jeffrey Epstein “massages.” In these contexts, it’s not just the ones selling sex who are culpable for creating its market — it’s the ones demanding it.

Social change strategist. I nudge people outside their echo chambers for the common good.

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